Blogging, working on the house a free short story from Rapid City

Posted by Geo April 12th 2017

 

It has been a busy week for me, and a week where I accomplished no writing at all. That seemed strange at first, but I got so much else done that I decided it wasn’t strange, just a temporary kind of new.

I worked all week on remodeling, smashed almost every finger and thumb that I have, wore myself out completely a few days in a row, and still felt grateful for it. It made me wish even harder to be living a life that models my books. I think that is why we find tales like that, a struggle to survive, impelling. It is a lifestyle we long for because it is completely different from what we have. No taxes, no $4.00 a gallon gasoline. No boss on your ass, and all the rest of it that would personalize it for each of us. That kind of life has pulled at me since someone bought it up to me at 18, and offered me a chance to live it.

I had an opportunity then to homestead in another country. It was serious. Isolated. Living completely off the land in a very wild place. No neighbors, cars, roads, telephones. Nothing at all. I was young. It sounded so great. My wife was pregnant and said no and that was that. She would not have a baby in the middle of nowhere. And that bought the realization that even if we stalled a few years, eventually she might have to have that baby in the middle of nowhere. It was a dead issue for her after that.

I understood it on two levels. First the reality of living that life or a life in the real world where my wife, child and family were. And just examining that on the surface made the decision for me. Second, even though the decision had been made, I was absolutely convinced that if I had gone I would have succeeded at it and loved it.

Because of that duality in me, I always pressed to learn as much as I could that would make me as self sufficient as possible, and I have. It allows me to write about things in my books with assurance. I can write it because I have done it. Learned it. Not because I read it in a book or Googled it. (Although Googling things is pretty damn impressive too, and I have used that a few times). My point is that for the past three weeks I have left the keyboard alone and turned back to working with my hands. And, as is usually the case with me, working alone too.

It’s been great, despite the broken finger, smashed truck and busted up thumb, blisters and dead tired, nothing-left-at-all, way I have felt most nights. That is my compromise for life. It’s like an uneasy truce I declared back there at 18. I have to have some of that sort of time.

It has seemed to work great most of the time. But, I found the same unhappiness, missing something that many of us find in life. Marriage, success, money, it doesn’t matter. There is, and always has been, something missing for me, and it took a great deal of life to finally forge an uneasy truce, compromise, cease war with myself.

It takes real effort to keep it working, moving. But it can be done. Part of it is what I write. I say I don’t know where it comes from but it’s obvious that it is strongly flavored by my desire to live that life I felt I should have lived.

Some people I know would leave this life to live that life in a heart beat. Others flat out say they would never do it. If given the opportunity I would go in a second, I say. And then I think of all the obligations I have. Things that I have said that I would see through, do, people I would be there for, and I know I could never do it.

What is my point? My point is that when I write about it. Or I take a few weeks off to really work hard with my hands, it’s just a s good. It can be, just as good. Or as good as having feet in both worlds can be. I think the writing is the grand escape. A good story should be able to take you away. I hope mine take you away. I hope you enjoy it so that when all the crap you have to deal with in the real world comes along you can deal with that easier because you took a little breather in your head.

I like feedback. People do write to me and tell me their opinions, I enjoy that, whether it is people I know or people I am hearing from for the first time.

It’s a little cooler here in New York. My work on the house is progressing nicely, a little slower than I would have wished, but still progressing. Next week is electrical work, insulation, security system and all the other stuff that has to go in before the sheetrock goes on the walls. I’m enjoying it, and in a few weeks it will be down to paint and carpet, finish work, and I will be back to being only a writer for the fall and winter. By the time that happens I will be grateful for it I’m sure.

There are just so many smashed fingers and tired limbs left for my future, I guess, and then I will be only writing. But I put a limit on that a few weeks back, kind of my own end of the world. If you check the main blog page you’ll find the clock running, counting down the hours until I pull the plug. It’s a long way a away, but it is nice to see it there running. Counting down the time to the third part of my life.

In the meantime I will publish everything I have written in all the series and then some. When I spent time last week going over the books and the outlines for the series, it amounts to 40 books for the Earth’s Survivors series. That probably seems very ambitious, maybe even unattainable, but if you stop to consider that I have already written 20 of the main books and another 9 of the side books that fit the puzzle it doesn’t seem so unattainable. Only 9 or so to go.

I hope you had a great week, where ever you are. Hello to my friends in the UK. I am glad I have friends there. My Mother’s parents were English and Irish. I have always felt that connection. My father on the other hand was African American and Native American so I have always felt that pull too and I am grateful to my friends here in the States and the UK that share that sort of heritage too.

I will leave you with a short story, the first short story from Rapid City…

Rapid City #1 By Wendell Sweet

BLOG EDITION

Copyright © 2013 by Wendell Sweet

If you would like to share this book with another person, please direct them to this blog entry. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This short story is Copyright © 2013 Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the authors permission. Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print..

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

DEDICATION

For Shell. Nothing else to say


RAPID CITY

The Town At Twilight

It was late when I came into Rapid city. Though the buildings had been thrown up as temporary shelters some twenty years past, they still held sway over the main street. But they seemed empty, abandoned in the twilight.

A faded, crudely lettered, wooden sign nailed to one side of the bat wings of Blood and Breakfast made the street official. Or as official as anything ever got in Rapid city.

My horse didn’t seem especial nervous as she made her way along. If you ride a horse, and everyone did now, gasoline was long gone unless you were a part of the Nation, you got used to their moods… Perceptions, and you paid attention or you might wind up dead. Horses were still free and Zombies couldn’t chase them down and eat them. Not that they didn’t get one occasional, they did. But it was rare.

My own horse watched the shadows slide from alleyway to alleyway between the old buildings. Her large, liquid brown eyes watching careful like. She was no fool, but she also didn’t appear to be alarmed to me.

The zombies weren’t out. They rarely came near the city in my own experience. At least not before full dark came on. So I didn’t concern myself with them. But I didn’t slide either. My eyes automatically slid from shadow to shadow in the buildings alleyways as I tied my reins to the rail out front, made the steps and headed up to the bat wings. I Heard a pigs squeal suddenly cut off and hoped there’d be some meat to be had with the usual eggs and biscuits.

Rapid city had been thrown together by some of the survivors who had come out of the North looking for a warmer place to live. You might as well say driven out and not just by the cold, but the zombies. Zombies didn’t mind cold. You could come across one naked as a jaybird, seeming frozen at the side of the road in the middle of the winter and think it would be no trouble. But the minute you turned your back they’d be up and on you. Once bitten there was no turning back. Oh in the early years there had been talk of some kind of a cure, but it had never come to anything. After awhile all those Government mouthpieces that kept talking cure got bit themselves and you just didn’t hear from them anymore. Not too long after that the whole government structure fell apart and for all intents and purposes, excepting those of us who could fight, the world belonged to the Zombies.

I had taken to gun-fighting. First: you had to be good with a gun so you could get them bastardly Zombies before they got you. Second: For some reason those that were left alive seemed to be hell bent on killing one another. A man couldn’t hardly turn his back on no one lest a bullet find him between the shoulder blades. And women? Well, short of whores of one kind or another, I had no truck with them. A woman, a real woman, was in short supply and worth killing over. Even if she was an ugly woman. I’d seen a four way gun battle over a one legged Whore down by Texas a few years back. And I’d heard about a thirty two man shoot out over a woman out on Alabama Island. And she was a slatty slip of a woman, but they said she could breed and that was that. I’d come across that one when it was over and they was counting the bodies. But these were things that were in the past. Years ago.

Back then things of that like seemed a waste to me. Here these Goddamned Zombies were killing us by the thousands, millions and these dumb son-of-a-bitches were killing each other. No sir. I’d rather take me a whore in some town when I need one. You can keep those so called proper women. And I will tell you; in my experience a whore can be a perfectly good woman. Love just the same as one of those sulky, pale things I seen out on Alabama Island a few times.

They say the plains is free of Zombies. That’s what they say. They say the Zombies is smarter, they stay around the cities where they can find food. And from what I’ve seen I’d have to agree. They seem to be evolving. But, didn’t we kind of know that was gonna happen? And do you know what the bitch is? There ain’t no goddamn way to win. You got to die, and when you do they got you. Pisses me off just to think about it.

The Blood And Breakfast

I made my way careful up the balance of the splintery steps, through the bat wings and into the Blood and Breakfast. The Blood and Breakfast only served two things. Whiskey and Breakfast. You could order just about anything you had a mind to at any time of day. And they might even listen to you, let you ramble on ’til you was done, but in the end they would tell you. You could order eggs and biscuits, meat if it was to be had. And you could have your whiskey in a bottle or a glass if you considered yourself fancy. But that was what there was and no more to be had. I put my head back to thinking as I looked around the interior.

I’d heard a lot of things about the plains. There was land. There was food to eat. And they say there’s men that has run off with whores and made them proper women out there. I heard it enough that I got to go. This will be my last stop in Rapid City and then I’m going. I’m tired of looking over my shoulder waiting for a damn Zombie to get me. Or another gunfighter. There’s a broken up BlackWay, what we used to call a road. Ain’t many seen it, but probably ain’t many been looking for it. Not only have I seen it I know where it goes. Like I said, a short stop here. Load up on supplies and I’m on my way.

The original settlement had not been laid out to serve other travelers but as a refuge for those escapees from the North. Even so within a few months all of the original settlers had been run off or killed by the Zombies. The ones that came later settled the city. After that Rapid city had become the main gateway to the southern states.

The name had come from the rapids in the nearby river. Well, the river had been near town. Things changed pretty quick back then. Dams a thousand miles away burst with no maintenance, rivers sprang up, died out. Nature did what nature wanted to do. Before the first coat of paint was drying on the church building, the river had spread out nearly a quarter mile wide and was no longer the fast moving body of water that it had once been.

These days it was more like an evil smelling swamp, with the actual river nearly a mile away. It was Hell in spring when the Mosquitoes hatched but the good side of that was the other residents of rapid city, the Zombies, didn’t like the Mosquitoes Something in their bite made them zombies drop like flies. Didn’t kill them outright but it knocked ’em down, gave them some kind of sickness, and a knocked down Zombie is one you can kill real easy. Most of the Zombies that found their way to Rapid City became residents of the swamp in just that way. Their bodies tossed unceremoniously to the alligators that had found the swamp a few years back. Alligators didn’t turn when they ate Zombie. They didn’t even seem to mind eating it. The residents, few as they were, breathed a little easier, and life went on.

The blood and breakfast was located in the old church building. The building had been gutted except the altar area which had been turned into a small dance floor for the whores and travelers. The ratio of whores to travelers was about 3 to 1, but the ratio of clean, disease free whores was about 1 to 5. You had to be real careful. If old Doc mulberry had rejected it, you should be smart enough not to check it out for yourself. If it could kill you you didn’t want it. But of course if the whores didn’t get you, the Zombies would. And some men liked to gamble.

The blood came anytime after the dinner meal. We’ll, after it had been served , not necessarily eaten and ended. It was kind of fluid so to speak, always had been. There was no violence while the serving was going on, and that was enforced by a shotgun wielding crew of about four employees who would show you some blood quick if you really needed it. In my experience it always turned out better to obey the rules and wait. No matter who you were. Even the gunfighters who visited knew the rules and obeyed them.

As I stood looking around I smelled coffee brewing too, probably thick as molasses and only black, but that was fine with me. I beat my hat against the doorpost, shook off as much dust as I was able to, caught the bartenders eyes, Smoky, was his name, and took the table his eyes had given me.

There was no fresh pork yet despite the screaming pig. But there was still bacon to be had, a better treat to my thinking. It seemed like the only meat I ever ate was venison or horse. And the zombies didn’t have it that way. They didn’t care what kind of meat they ate. But of course they preferred people. It just galled me that they was never having the problems with food that the rest of us had. I’d heard of a few places where the tables had been turned. Where hunting parties went out looking for Zombies. Shot them down. Bought them back to display them. But I also heard how them places went bad too. There was always one that stepped over the line and decided to eat what they shot. Don’t let that shock you. After all, isn’t it the same Goddamn thing the Zombies are doing to us? Sure it is. Except that old saying you are what you eat comes into play pretty damn quick. To me it made no sense. I couldn’t cypher how they had got to think to eat a Zombie. The things were dead. Stunk to high Heaven. And it only made sense that it would turn you. Just about every Goddamned thing you had to do with them frigging Zombies would turn you.

Like them idiots that thought you could mate with them. Breed the UN-dead right out of existence. That never turned out well neither. I guess men just thought strange thoughts sometimes when they set down to ponder this whole situation out and there wasn’t always someone there to talk sense into them. Anyway, I knew I was tired of horse and venison, and nowhere near ready to lunch on Zombie. But a little bacon would be a good treat. It’d been a few years since I had any, a little place down toward Texas where it had once met Mexico was the last time.

I took the bacon. A half dozen biscuits and as many eggs. When there’s fresh food you take it. Jerky and hard biscuits was the normal fare. Horse or Deer jerky. And once Turtle jerky. Jesus, that there was some bad stuff. I suppose you might get to thinking around the campfire late at night, belly rumbling, that a little Zombie might not be so bad after all.

I rolled a smoke and sat watching twilight paint the dirt street golden as the sun sank. I spoke to a boy leaning on the wall watching me and sent him to do for my horse. He was off the wall as soon as I flipped a gold piece at him and out the door. I heard him lead my horse away, feet clomping in the early evening stillness. I sometimes worried about my horse. A zombie will eat a horse if that Horse is tied up and can’t get away from it. I seen a Zombie horse or two in my time too. Yes. A horse could be turned. Jesus. It’s a rough sight to see.

The kid would make sure the horse was inside but not penned. She could go if she needed to. I’d find her later. Wouldn’t be the first time. In this world your horse was everything. I’d known men who loved the company of their horse mor’n other people. There was something I understood, but dinner was coming so I put the horse out of my mind. The evening was nearly here and I was safe inside. And I felt good.

The Gunfighter Profession

I am Robert Evans, a gunfighter. I wear stitched leather gloves with no fingers. There is a man in Alabama City that makes them special for me and a few others that be in the life of gun fighting. They protect my palms. They give a good grip. And they leave my fingers clear so they do not get tripped up when I need them. Those gloves have always made people look twice, and a lot of what I am about is psychological. A painted picture. I want to be feared. Sometimes I think I am no better than the Zombies when it comes to that. If you fear me you stay away from me. But there was the other side of that too. You kill what you fear. Yes you do.

I don’t fight overly much anymore. That sort of occupation is dying out I guess. There was a time when the world was crazy though and we found ourselves in a different kind of life. The cities fell. The cops failed to keep us safe. Governments were all talk, and then they were no more. The dead were everywhere.

That was our time. Gunfighters. Gold on the nail and we could make death happen. I carried two fully automatic 45 caliber pistols with custom extended clips. Made my own ammo. Still do. Knock a Zombie down at 100 yards. Walk into a crowd of Zombies and take them all out before one could touch me. And although I was not special I was no slouch. There were only a few in my league. Jimmy Jenkins… Lila West… A few others. We were sent for from all over to take care of Zombie outbreaks. But the sheer numbers overcame us. And the shock wore off and those that were still alive began to fight back. And we, gunfighters, became outcasts. Social misfits. Hated almost as much as the Zombies we had once been hired to kill. The people felt we had taken advantage of them. Lied to them. And some even suspected that we ourselves had something to do with those Zombies. Some sort of bond. Like maybe we had spawned them so we could profit from them. I never made no Zombie any more than I’d ever be willing to eat one. But back in the beginning? We was feared. I could not tell you how many Zombies I put in the ground for permanent. Thousands. High numbers of thousands.

Now nobody gives a shit about us. There were so few people that lived that it looks like it would probably take about ten thousand years before anybody would need to be fighting over anything. Maybe the Zombies will take over. Maybe the earth is no longer for the living. But there is land everywhere. Gold everywhere. The women live longer than the men. Life is just harder for a man. Die sooner, except when the zombies get you then you don’t even get to die. And even if the women that are left are mostly Whores there are enough for everyone. No need to kill over them anymore, despite those things that still go on. Really, there are just a few of us left and every time I come around somewhere it seems there is a half dozen less faces that I had been used to seeing. The Zombies get a few, and we still kill each other too. Makes no sense to me at all.

There was and is speculation about that. Are we dying out? I think we are. Looks pretty clear to me. How can you kill something that’s dead? You can’t. Is this God’s judgment? Maybe. Government fuck-up? That’s what I think. We will never know for a fact what did happen, but I know this, I believe we’re done. I wouldn’t say it if I was you though unless you’re prepared to meet your God. It’s just that way. We may be dying out. And we may know we’re dying out. And the Zombies may be on the verge of inheriting the earth, but we don’t want to hear it. Saying it will usually get you dead fast.

The Good Old Days

Dinner and Conversation

When I was younger it was cockroaches. People believed that someday a nuclear missile would take all of us out and the earth would be left to the cockroaches. That’s funny because even when we are gone the Zombies will go on and the cockroach population will be kept in check, because, as it turns out, Zombies love cockroaches. Eat those little fuckers just like Popcorn. Like a treat. And, it applies to nearly every goddamn bug there is. If you study Zombies for awhile, I killed them for a living for many years so I had to, you will see them do it. Just reach down and snatch a bug from the ground, or the floor, or the air and stuff it in their mouths. And they are fast. Gone are those early days when they were slow. No more. Only the mosquitoes are a different story. If we could have just found out what was in Mosquitoes we might have gotten someplace, but it’s too late for that now, truly it is.

I flicked my cigarette away as the food came. It’s been a good six months since I’ve eaten real meat. That had been on Alabama Island. The Nation. I was looking forward to the Bacon. Just seeing it on my plate made my mouth water.

The Nation is what has bought most of this country back under control. They control the communist whole, not just each and every little area but the whole of the continent. North, South, East and West. They’re there. I do trade with them. I could probably fall in with them and establish my own settlements, be myself again. Beef, Coffee, Sugar, Textiles, Electricity if you were in one of their settlements or one of their larger cities like Alabama Island you would think that nothing had ever happened.

But there were rumors about the nation. They were getting shaky, falling apart, and on my last trip to Alabama Island I saw that that might be true. If they were shaking it might take some time before they shook themselves apart. They were so big that I couldn’t really see it. The only thing that made me really examine it at all was that America was big… The biggest… And it fell apart.

I mulled life over as I began to put away my dinner and listened to the conversation around me.

Concerns about the weather. Too much sun. The farming, crops. The Nation. Concerns about the Zombies, was it over? Was it done? Talk about a gunfighter who had been tracked down in a small town down near the Texas border and killed. That one I had heard about. Vigilantes, something like that. Tracked him down. Betsy, one of the whores, had caught something bad. Bad enough that Doc Mulberry didn’t know what to do about it. A zombie that had been acting strange, coming around the Blood and Breakfast and going through the trash. Even in the daylight. If it was like that with zombies now I guess it didn’t really surprise me. They’ve come around like that before. Zombies were adaptable… Changing… We all knew it. And then the conversation moved on and I lost interest as I ate my dinner.

The Challenger

It took me a few seconds to realize that it was quiet. All the conversation had fallen off. The roar of the silence broke through to me. It’s odd like that, ain’t it? How the absence of sound can call you up out of your thinking sometimes, faster than actual noises can. This was bad though. Stupid of me. The old me would not never had been caught like that.

I looked up following the directions of the stares and heard the low clacking of new boot heels as they made the wooden steps that came into the saloon.

He was known to me, but that didn’t mean I was known to him. I had seen him fight more than once. Perhaps four times total if I recalled correctly. Gunfighters were so rare now as to draw attention. I drew my share of sideways glances and small murmurings as I said. And handling my own business was nothing new for me. I did it when I had to. My guns talked for me.

John Baxter, that was the gunfighters name, walked in and straight to the bar. I would have liked to have thought that he had not seen me but I knew he had. He was working way too hard to not look my way. He had used his peripheral vision to check me out same as I would’ve. And I was caught completely off guard. I had not heard him soon enough. Not his horse coming, nor whatever it had been that had tipped off the bar crowd and caused them to fall silent. The only edge that I had if there was trouble, and in my world there always was, was that he did not know I was unprepared. And even as I thought those thoughts I prepared myself. And as far as I was concerned we were back on even ground just that fast.

In those seconds I had freed up my pistols, changed my leg position and looked over the room completely. I ended by moving my body slightly to present a smaller target. Seconds spun out. John ordered a whiskey and kept his back to me. I considered shooting him dead right in the back. I’m not above it. Better dead, no matter whether you were right or wrong in the way you got it done.

The crowd was absolutely silent and drawn back away from us. Making room. They had seen a few gunfights in the Blood and Breakfast. Even so two gunfighters in the Blood and Breakfast at the same time had to be something unheard of in awhile. Most likely the whole town had been aware that something might be up, maybe from the second I come into town. Certainly before I knew.

I looked at my plate regretting that I’d saved the bacon for last as it now sat untouched on my plate along with the biscuits sopped in egg yolks. There were at least three flies having a feast. It pissed me off, but it would not keep me from eating it later. I told myself I should have shot him in the back just for the pure fact that he was making me miss my breakfast. And I would have to eat it cold later with fly shit that looked an awful lot like black pepper after we were done with our business. John turned slow from the bar. Dinner in the Blood and Breakfast was done being served.

“Come to kill you, Robert,” he said easy. His eyes were gray, hard and flat. A tight smile played at his small mouth. His lips were pursed. His hat sat upon the bar where he had thrown it.

“So I thought,” I said aloud. I moved not at all. My own blue eyes gave away nothing of my emotions. My hands did not shake.

Silence fell and held. Just the sliding and shuffling of the feet of the townsmen, the whores and the travelers alike sliding backwards from what they considered to be the fighting zone. I was thinking I had waited too long, that I should have shot him in the back, when a twitch of his shoulder told me he was going for his gun.

The noise was deafening. I emptied half a clip into him from under the table top. Half a modified clip was fifteen bullets. And the first four or five took the bottom edge of the table off as they flew at John.

The thing about a gunfight is that it slows down time some how. You ask any gunfighter and they will tell you that’s true. I watched as my first bullet plucked at his shirt front before his own gun had completely cleared leather. My second bullet blew his collarbone apart just a few inches from where it joined with his neck, but his gun was out and spitting fire. It was about then that two things happened.

The first was, I felt a sudden heaviness in my chest. I didn’t have time to puzzle that before one more bullet found its mark and I saw John become dead. This one midway in his chest. Showing only as a tiny hole but it was like the light went out of his eyes all at once. When those two things were done it finally registered in my thoughts that I had been shot too. Hit, not killed. I was pretty sure not dead or dying. To prove it I forced myself to move and I was able to move just fine.

The smoke hung like a curtain in the air. The smell of hot metal, gunpowder expired, hung in that same air.

Someone said… “They is both hit… Lookit!” Real low… Like a whisper.

In the Alley By The Door

John finally had the sense to fall down. His gun clattered to the floor just before John himself did.

Time slipped by. I wanted to see how bad I was hit. I had no real idea. I finally stood from the table and looked down at myself. A small neat hole just below my shoulder in my upper chest. Red blooming around it like a small, spring flower. I was hurt, but not bad. I had been shot worse.

“Get the Doc,” I said to some skinny, slat-sided whore crouching in the shadows. She looked scared to death or almost. She lit out, seeming glad to, and I walked over to John where he lay sprawled on the floor and put one more bullet right between his eyes. Best to do it soon. I’ve seen a body start turning before the life is really even done leaving it. Those bastard Zombies can’t wait… Or the Dead disease. Whatever it is that turns them. A little dog hiding under a nearby table yelped when I fired and scrambled, nails clicking on the wood floor, trying to secret itself better. I reached down and took John’s guns and personals, gold mostly, set them on the table, grabbed one booted foot and dragged him towards the back door.

I kicked the rear screen door open, dragged him bumping down the steps and rolled him over towards the trash cans. I’d done my part and now my chest was beginning to hurt. I felt like sitting down all at once. There was a little bubbling in the lung on that side. I could both feel and hear it. It was an odd thing. And I could feel the bullet in there, wedged tight, burning. I didn’t relish Doc. Mulberry operating but the alternative was unacceptable. And I had come through much worse. Much worse.

I was turned to go back in when the Zombie got me. He must have been crouched down by the garbage cans in the shadows and I hadn’t seen him. He had me by the wrist growling and snarling before I could shoot him. I got my gun up and put one through his head as fast as I could, hoping the ricochet didn’t take off my hand. He let go and laid down with one leg twitching and his back arched stiff for a second. Then he was dead for good, Amen.

I stood for a few seconds wondering what the hell had just happened. But, I knew what had just happened. I had lived through a goddamned gunfight at the old age of fifty two just to get bitten by a ever-lovin’ friggin’ Zombie. I stood a few seconds longer thinking of how unfair that was, remembering the conversation from inside while I had been eating. A Zombie had been coming around… Going through the trash… but then the craziness of the situation hit me and I had to laugh. And laughing was how old Doc Mulberry found me.

He looked from the Zombie to my wrist dripping blood on the dirt of the back alley.

“That from the fight or the Zombie,” he asked me.

“Zombie,” I answered . I tapped lightly at the bullet hole in my upper chest. He nodded.

“Ain’t that a bitch,” he said.

I laughed. “Ain’t it… Ain’t it just…”


I hope you enjoyed that story. Get the three story collection from:  iTunesNookSmashwords


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New releases and partner projects with Geo Dell

Posted by Geo Dell April 10th 2017

It has been a pretty good week here and it looks like spring has sprung!

I finally finished, to my satisfaction, Earth’s Survivors QutRunners Book One. It ended up, after two read throughs, at 115 k. So it will be a nice long book. I did not get to Billy Jingo. I did build out GeoDell.com, I also made a decision about Rapid City, previewed Earth’s Survivors four, and looked over the construction work that is coming up on my home. It was a week with a lot to do and it kept me away from writing for the most part. For the lesser part though I did get all of my ducks in a row. So Monday I will be able to jump right in.

I will also try to get an Earth’s Survivors Book Five preview out soon too. It is a good book. I think you will like it. But since it was written two years ago I had forgotten exactly how it went. I was shocked when I opened the front cover and realized which story it was. Can’t say more, but you will probably be very surprised. There is a small preview in the back of Book four, I just need to get a longer preview done and post it.

Rapid City: I gave a lot of thought to America The Dead, another Earth’s Survivors series that follows Other characters from New York, L. A., a few other large cities. Decided to release the America The Dead books instead of the Rapid City books.

Okay, a little humor concerning cats…

I would just like to say I have a cat. It loves me. It’s not a dog, but I do my best to overlook that and for the cat’s part he seems to do a pretty good job of overlooking my shortcomings too… Like Not being all that appreciative of the dead snakes, chipmunks mice and birds he brings me. He looks at me like I’m an idiot because, hey! He’s done all the hard work. Hunted it. Killed it. Bought it to me. All I have to do is eat it. So, I have a cat. I do not wish any harm to befall any cat. Please don’t write to me and tell me I hate cats, because it would really hurt my cat to find that out…

I have often daydreamed that the cats have wandered off. Become lost. But then I think, how will I explain it to Mom when she gets home and wants to know where the cats are? Hmm. So, I came up with…

‘Excuses for why the cat is gone.’

It was past it’s expiration date so I had to chuck it.

There was a terrible showdown between the cat and three mice. I think the mice were carrying knives. It was bad. Yes they may have been blind mice, but they were friggin’ mean blind mice.

I traded that cat for Volkswagen

What cat? We had a cat?

Other Cat Stuff…

Used cats: You never see ads for used cats, you know, “Gently used cat. Very low miles. Will trade for good dog, beaver or camping tent.”

One of the things I have against cats: They have fur all over them, and since I am in denial about having evolved from some sort of monkey or other animal, it bothers me to know they may rise and take over the world some day. Funny? I’ll bet that’s what the other monkeys thought about 25,000 years ago when Bob the different monkey shocked them all by fixing a hamburger and fries for dinner instead of insects and grass.

Whistling. If you whistle to a dog they’re coming. He or she will be right there. Whistle to a cat and they may flip you off, but they’re not coming.

Things you never hear… “Brother, can you spare a cat?”

Famous Quotes:

“Give a man a potato he can eat for a day. Teach a man how to grow a potato and a cat will probably come along, dig up his garden and crap in it.”

Things I have not seen: Three legged cats. Cats with their suitcases packed (Do they have suitcases?). Cats with a drivers license. Talking cats. Unpretentious cats.

Okay. That is me this morning. Forgive me for the cat remarks. I love cats. Okay I don’t love cats. I like my cat though and I wouldn’t let a dog eat him, and I really like dogs so that’s a big deal. It is beautiful here in New York. It’s nearly 11:00 A.M. this early morning it is appreciated as it has been such a tough winter.

Okay. I hope you had a good week. Check out the new Geo Dell site. See you next week…

New Releases that I am involved with:

All of these new releases have FREE Previews through Amazon…


 Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Bear Kindle Edition


Cold Monday and a look at Dell’s SCIFI Fantasy book Dreamers

Posted by Geo 03-13-2017

It is cold in the city today. Glad you made it and glad you dropped by to see what I was up to. Winter is still laying it on us here in New York. Looks like there is no end in sight. Last week in the seventies, this morning just above zero, crazy.

I spent most of my weekend cleaning out my shop and getting ready for a new guitar build. I do the guitar builds to take me away from the writing at times. Stress relief. I have often wished I could split myself into three people, one to write, one to do music and the last to build video games. Probably  Frankenstein way to do it.

So Dell Sweet is working on the Life Stories, the first two of which I am now editing and those will end up on Amazon in a few weeks. They are the individual stories of the Earth’s survivors. When Earth’s Survivors was originally published on the website that is how they were written. The first book was Rising from the Ashes and the story was a single about Mike and Candace. When they were published through Smashwords the other stories were tied in with it and the first book to be mass published was entitled Apocalypse.

So now you will have the individual Survivors Stories that some of you asked for. They will also be priced below the main Earth’s Survivors books.

The two new Collections were released last week. Collection four: Candace and Mike and Collection Five: Books Six and Seven. Both of these join the other collections that are only available from Amazon.

I think that catches us up on the news. I am writing all week and editing in my spare time, ha ha. There is no spare time. I feel some game building coming soon, I am missing it a great deal. I will leave you will an excerpt from Dreamers a SciFi book from Dell. Take a look…


DREAMERS

Dreamers is Copyright © 2016 by Dell Sweet. All rights reserved foreign and domestic.

Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

LEGAL

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

Parts of this novel are Copyright © 2010, 2015 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.


In The Moonlight:

Laura Kast

“Easy… Easy, girl, I wont hurt you.” I lowered my hand slowly to let the dog get my scent as I approached the van… Boy, my mind corrected… Boy, Laura…

“Boy,” I said aloud and laughed. But the dog looked like he knew what I had said, cocking his head from one side to the other. His upper lip curled away from his teeth, but he was no longer snarling or growling deep in his chest. “Easy, Boy. Easy, Boy… It’s me, Laura… Easy.” I reached down and he allowed me to rest one hand on his head. I ruffled the thick fur there.

This was new. Did the dog know me? Did I know the dog? I thought about it and realized that at the very least I knew the dog. That didn’t mean the dog knew me. And the dog was definitely not letting anyone near the van. Guarding it. He seemed to consider me on a deeper level, his eyes locked with mine. When had I looked back at him? I couldn’t answer the question. With the dog looking at me like that the question didn’t seen important at all. Wasn’t, important at all, I corrected myself… The dog corrected…?

“You do know me… Don’t you? …Bear?” The dog, who was not a dog, cocked his head to one side and seemed to smile at me. … “Your name is, Bear? … Good, Boy… You’re… Joe’s dog… Bear. Good boy, Bear… Is he here… In the van?” I eased closer as I talked.

Bear watched me, but no longer growled at all. Even the stiff posture he had assumed had changed. His tail dropped and moved slightly. It may have been the beginning of a wag. He whined low in his throat. His eyes reflecting green iridescence in the blue of the moon light. He whined again and then came closer to me, easing his head back under my hand so carefully it seemed as though it had always been there. I rubbed his head once more and then my hand slipped under his jaw, scratching, my head lowered at the same time. Bear whined again and then licked my face.

Laura, you take too many chances, I told myself. Too many. But my hand continued to rub Bear’s head and scratch under his jaw, allowing my racing heart to slow. Catching my breath. Wondering what came next. I was new to this. I had never been this far before. I didn’t know what came next.

“You get in the van,” Joe said from the open window above me.

A small, sharp scream slipped from my throat before I could stop it; sounding like someone was strangling me as I tried to suppress it.

“Jesus… Jesus, Joe… Jesus!”… I managed to get myself back under control after a few seconds. I sucked air back into my lungs. Bear whined and looked up at me. My heart slammed against my rib cage.

“No… Not, Jesus. Thank God it’s not that time,” he said.

I met his eyes, but there was no smile in them. “You scared me,” I said defensively, still breathing hard, chest heaving, heart slamming against my ribs.

“No shit. You think I wasn’t scared too? You’re not supposed to be here … You never have been.” He finished quietly after starting in a loud, strained whisper. His eyes remained on mine. The wind picked up moving the limbs in a huge Elm that stood nearby. Its winter-dead limbs clicking and clacking as they came together. The heavy branches groaning and creaking as the wind momentarily gusted.

The wind continued to build for a few more seconds. Our eyes still locked on one another. Then the wind died down with an audible sigh and I shuddered involuntarily and shifted my eyes away.

“I know… I know,” I started. I moved my eyes back to his, but he just stared at me.

“I do know,” I started again. “I’m not even sure how… How I got here,” I finished quietly.

Bear pushed past me, tail wagging, and jumped up into the van as Joe opened the door.

“That’s how it happens,” he said every bit as quietly as I had started. His eyes that had wandered up to the night darkened sky were back on my own now. Staring at me out of the open door. Bear’s head popped up, looking at me from between the seats.

“Well,” Joe asked?

“What,” I asked? I cocked my head in an unconscious imitation of the way Bear was looking at me.

“Shouldn’t you get in,” he asked? … “Or don’t you want to?”

And that was the question, wasn’t it? Here I was, where I was not supposed to be, where I was not invited to be, where I had never been before and it was time to make the choice.

Bear cocked his head once more as if he were also waiting to hear my answer. The dog that was not a dog at all… a… wolf? Maybe… Maybe more than that too… His green eyes asked the question.

“I get in the Van,” I said quietly.

Joe looked away and then turned quickly back. “Yeah. Yeah. You get in the van and we… We go… It’s nearly dawn… There isn’t much time and we have to get as far as we can before the sun comes up.”

He stretched one hand across the seat, held out to me and I could hear the engine running… When had he started it? … I couldn’t remember. My tongue poked out and licked at my dry lips. Bear seemed to grin. No. Not just a wolf either… One side of his upper lip curled over his teeth.

I found my feet stepping up into the passenger area and I followed…

In The Moonlight:

On The Road With Bear

Joe

I rolled to a stop at the intersection. The city was ahead, the house behind, I had never turned left or right so I had no idea what might be in those directions. Were those two roads, one to the left, one to the right, winding away into the distance, just conceptions? One of those photo realistic things that made you look twice, maybe even more? I looked again.

The roads were night dark, the moon playing hide and seek, gliding in and out of the heavy black clouds. The falling rain distorted both the near road and the distant road. How long had it been raining, I wondered, once the rain finally registered. Big, fat drops formed and rolled off down the slope of the windshield. I reached for the wiper switch but found nothing.

I took my eyes from the windshield and looked, supposing I had put my hand in the wrong place, but I had not. There was simply nothing but a gray, formless mass that slightly resembled the lower half of a dashboard. I blinked and when I opened my eyes once more the wiper switch was there. Exactly where it had not been. Exactly where it should be.

Tired I thought.

Bullshit was my second thought.

I blinked again, but the wiper switch remained. I flicked it on half suspecting that it wouldn’t work. That the wipers, if there were any real wipers, would remain frozen to the glass, refuse to move, but they swept up and pushed the beaded drops of rain from the glass nearly silently. Bear whined and pushed his nose under my hand.

“Alright, Buddy,” I told him. I stroked his head and then looked back out at the road. Left, right, straight, I asked myself.

There was a mystery to the city. Sometimes it went bad for me and sometimes it simply frustrated me.

… Running down the clock… One thing was sure, I had never come back out of the city in the many times that I had driven down into it.

… Left, right, straight, I asked myself again.

I pulled a small wire bound notebook and a pen from my shirt pocket and thumbed it open. Pages and pages of notes on the many times I had gone, but none of them amounted to anything except four entries:

The first entry, page twenty-Six, an address, 52715 Randolph Circle. I had never found Randolph Circle in all of my trips, let alone 52715. I had no memory of ever being there. Of any trip to the city when I may have gone there. I did not remember marking the address into the book. Nothing. A total blank.

The second entry, page twenty-five, read; Be careful of Locust street. Big bold letters. And I remembered being there. I had barely got away with my life.

The third entry, page twenty-seven said; ‘West End Docks.’

I knew that place. I remembered being there, the first time and several other times. But the details weren’t there. I couldn’t see them. Why had I been there? I couldn’t see it. Put my finger on it. There was a long, low building that fronted the docks. A house across the street. An old run down neighborhood. A low, curving concrete wall where I had sat and watched people come and go several times. And more. The feeling that I had been there other times that I could not yet remember. I say yet because I had the feeling that I would remember it. But page twenty-six? Nothing. Nothing at all. Not even a ghost of a memory.

A map would be useful, but there were no maps. It had taken a dozen times or more before I could count on the wire bound note book being in my pocket. Bigger things, like the van, had taken even longer. Before that I had had to walk or steal a car and that was always risky. But there was hope for a map. Someday, just not this day. At least I didn’t think so.

A quick check of the glove box and the engine cover storage area proved that to be true. Nothing useful. And why was it so much useless stuff was there? A spare pen cap… A broken transistor radio, the van had a radio of its own… Sometimes anyway, but there were no stations on the dial, or at least not yet there weren’t. That was another maybe, but it was there, so what good was a broken transistor radio?

Two paperclips. An insurance card, made out to me… For what? A fuzzy life saver, it looked like lime, my least favorite flavor. A flashlight with no batteries, and a dog biscuit. That was new. There had never been a dog biscuit before. Bear whined and gave a little woof in his throat.

I laughed, “It’s yours, Buddy.” He took it gently from my hand. The dry scrape of the Windshield wipers dragged my attention to the windshield. No rain. No rain on the road either. I reached down and flicked off the wipers. At least the switch was still there.

Straight, my mind finally decided. Better the evil that you know. Left and right could wait for another night. I eased off the brake as Bear jumped up onto the passenger seat, rested his paws on the dashboard and watched the countryside pass us by as we made our way into the city.

The fourth entry was on page fifty-eight. A series of numbers. 2757326901. All strung together, followed by a name Laura K. Whole first name, initial only for the last: Like I knew her maybe? I didn’t though. I must have at the time I wrote the number down, but I didn’t now. Who was Laura? Were the numbers a telephone number? Code talk? It bothered me that I had written the entry and yet had no recollection of doing it. Same as Page twenty-six.

I passed the City Limits sign as I wondered. Regular street lights. No traffic. Sometimes there was traffic, sometimes there wasn’t.

The rain began to fall all at once. One second no rain, the next everything was drenched as though it had rained forever: Always; would never stop. I fumbled for the windshield wiper switch once more, but by the time I turned it back on the windshield was clear. No more rain. The road looked as though it had never seen rain, as if it had never been there at all.

I glanced at the speedometer and then lowered my speed. I didn’t need to attract attention. There were cops here and they had no problem putting me in jail. It didn’t seem to matter to them that I was no more real to them than they were to me, off to jail they took me. And before that was all said and done I spent ten days in that jail. Eating Bologna sandwiches, smelling that moldy-pissy jail smell and trying to convince my court appointed lawyer that neither of us were really there. Jail was no good. I had no intention of going back there. I looked once more at the speedometer, backed off a little more, and then passed the sign announcing the city limits.

The city was early morning dead. It wasn’t dawn. If it were I would not have been there, but dawn was close. There was a glow above the city skyline. Faint… Pink… Growing as I sat idling at the intersection waiting for the light to change.

I noticed the rain was falling once more and I had either never turned on the wipers the last time it had rained, or I had turned them off after it had rained. I reached down to flip the switch on and that was when I  heard the sound of a heavy engine screaming. Gears clashing. Bear voiced a warning just as my eyes cleared the dashboard and tried to make sense of the scene before them.

There wasn’t much time to absorb it. A garbage truck just feet away from the driver’s door and closing fast. Sirens screaming. Red and blue lights pulsing. Chasing the garbage truck, I wondered? That was nearly the only thought I had time for.

Bear barked again. My eyes focused on the truck only inches away from me, and slowly rose to the driver. A woman… Laura? … Her eyes focused on my own for the split second before the Garbage truck hit the van’s driver door full blast.

Pain exploded inside of me. Faintly, far away, I heard Bear howl in either anger or pain. Then that sound, all sound, was quickly cut off, replaced with a low snapping sound that quickly turned into a heavy crackling sound. The smell of Ozone filled my nose, but something else quickly began to replace that smell. Gasoline. Gasoline and something else… Diesel? And then, with a low wham, the heat came. I struggled to free myself, but it was no use. I had time for one more quick thought … Laura … Laura … Why …? And then the explosion came and the pain flared, then ended almost as fast as it had come and I found myself flying through the blackness of the void… Flying…. Falling… Panic building… Lungs trying to pull a breath… Voice trying to scream… Nothing coming out… Then sight returning in a rush… The street racing up to meet me… The remains of the Van and the Garbage truck burning far below me…. Red and blue lights pulsing… Cars parked aslant in the street where they had skidded to a stop… Cops behind open doors… Crouched to fire… Their guns pointing… Rain falling… The pavement coming closer… So close I could see the individual pebbles of the surface embedded in the asphalt mix…

The impact came with no pain. The remaining air crushed from my lungs… I tried once more to scream, but it was no use… I hit hard, bounced, came down once more and my eyes flew open wide as I impacted the second time…

Gray half-light… The buzzing of the alarm clock… My own sheets tangled around me… Damp with sweat. The red numerals on the clock read 6:47 A.M. I sucked air greedily, like I had never been among the living at all. Never known how to breath. Just returned from the dead. I released my breath in a long, shaky shudder, found myself half sitting up in the bed and fell back to the mattress urging my racing heart to slow… Calming myself… Morning had come.

I reached over, shut off the alarm clock and silence descended on the room. I could hear my heart beating in that silence. Rapidly slamming against the inside of my ribs. Hard. Heavy. Loose and wet. Hear my labored breathing. I lay still for a few minutes watching more color seep into the sky, then got up and made my way to the shower.

In The Moonlight:

This Present Waking To life

Therapy, Laura

Tuesday: Late Afternoon

Doctor Donna Shulman’s Office

“So… How did that make you feel?” Doctor Shulman asked me.

“Feel? I don’t know… Dead? …. Like it was real? … Like it’s always real until I wake up and find out that it isn’t real, you know?” I lifted my eyes to her, but she said nothing. “And…” I paused. No way should I say what was really on my mind. Shut up, Laura! I told myself before any of the words could slip out.

“And?” she prompted.

“And?” I questioned innocently.

“And you left off at And… It isn’t a typical ending to a sentence. At least not any structure I know of. I felt you had more to say?” She lifted say so that it made her statement a question. She waited. She was a good waiter. The best waiter. The best I had ever met. They probably taught that in the psychology classes she had taken.

I had known Doctor Donna Shulman for two years now. All in therapy. Two years ago I had been speed addicted, just coming off living on the streets. Now I was back to my old job as a website designer. No one I worked for knew about my past. My Probation officer wasn’t invasive like that. He was satisfied that I was working, maintaining a home, residence was the legal terminology he used when we discussed it, and probably what he wrote on the forms that went back to the judge. I was testing clean. I was clean, and had been the whole two years. My probation ended in a matter of a few weeks.

“Laura?” She prompted.

“Sorry,” I said, even though I wasn’t. It was ingrained. I hated myself when I groveled or apologized for no reason.

“The guy,” I said reluctantly. “I dream about this guy all the time. I mean every dream, and I’m dreaming about the same places all the time too. Over and over… He’s …. I don’t know… I don’t want to sound crazy… He’s … It’s like he’s real.” There, I told myself, I said it.

“Do you feel crazy,” she asked? “Impulsive? Like you’re worthless? The way your father always made you feel?”

“No,” I answered quietly. We’d covered a lot of ground in the last two years of mandated counseling sessions. All for resisting arrest. Well, I had kneed officer Macho Man who had insisted on touching me everywhere he possibly could while he justifiably subdued me. It still made me mad. And I had also shot a looping right to his eye, but it was only luck that I hit it. Okay, I had taken self defense classes… Maybe it wasn’t just luck.

“Not feeling like using? … Getting high,” she asked?

“Absolutely not!” I answered a little too strongly. But it was the truth. I didn’t feel like using. Hadn’t in a long while. Not since the last time that had found me in the fight with officer Touchy-Feelie. After all of that I would have had to have been insane to want to drink: Of course N.A. talked about that. The insanity of the drug use. The addict doing the same things over and over and yet expecting different results.

“I feel like he’s substantial… He knows me … Knows things about me… Everything.”I said.

“Well, Laura. They’re your dreams… Naturally…”

“Right… Right… That’s why I sound crazy… I know it… But it goes past that… Like… Like I’m not even in… In charge? … Control? … Control is a better word. Like I’m not even in control of the dream, you know?”

She studied me. “…No…” she said at last. “No I do not know.” She studied me some more.

“Like… Okay… This will sound crazy… Like somehow I’ve crashed into his dream. Like I’m part of his dream… Like it’s not even my dream, it’s his, and somehow… Somehow I’m like some bit player in his dream… But it is my dream… So it’s like I’m a guest in my own Goddamn dream… Or his… which ever it is,” I finished quietly. I studied her right back.

“I see… Well, what do you suppose that is telling you?” she asked me.

“Telling me?” I asked back.

“Yes. Telling you,” she countered, refusing to give me the answer. She waited.

“I,” I sighed. “I don’t know,” I admitted.

“Really,” she asked?

I shrugged.

She sighed. “We’ve been over this, Laura… Your Father controlled you. Obviously this man… You feel this man is controlling you. You feel like you are living his dream.. Acting in his dream… As though it’s scripted by him… You can’t see the correlation?” She leaned forward expectantly.

“I,” I started, and then the small session clock on her desk chimed. I let out my pent up breath. She smiled.

“Saved by the metaphorical bell,” she said and smiled.

I smiled back.

“Next week then, Laura?” She smiled again.

“I will think about what you said,” I said, trying to mollify her. After all she did send reports to my probation officer; days to go could turn into weeks or months to go, maybe, if she turned in a bad report. “I really will,” I said, forcing my face to look as sincere as I could once remember looking, or wanting to look, when I really wanted to convince my mother that everything was okay in my world. It had worked then… Maybe…

I looked up and she was smiling. “I know you will. I’ll say that for you, you do the work… Have you given any thought to continuing therapy after the court ordered sessions stop? I’m sure you realize that next week is our last session.” She smiled once more. “I’ve already submitted your last report. I recommended you be released, Laura.”

My eyes immediately became moist and my throat caught. I cleared it, blinked a few times to keep the tears away. I hadn’t realized how afraid of all of it I was. Of all the times to start having nightmares. “I’m so grateful for that,” I said and I meant it. “I appreciate it.” There I was groveling again.

She smiled. “Let me know about the other,” she said as she opened the door for me. It took me a second, my mind was racing with all the possibilities of being free.

“Yes,” I said with a slight delay. I had felt compelled to answer, Yes I will. I’ll keep coming, but I bit that back. “I will,” I said, groveling again.

I stepped out into the hallway as I spoke and the door slammed hard behind me making my heart jump into my throat. I spun around thinking, the wind… Must have been the wind, but the door was gone. The hallway was gone. My heart hammered harder in my chest.

I heard the footsteps before I saw anyone. I was trying to take stock of my situation: Where I was. I had been there before. A wide open area of machinery. Huge ceilings twenty maybe thirty feet high. So much noise that I could hear nothing but the noise. And that made me wonder how I had heard the door slam. Heard the conversation for that matter. Heard the footsteps I still heard. My heart jumped higher, seeming to block my windpipe with every beat. Pulsing like drums in my ears.

‘Run, Laura, Run,’ my mind screamed.

I turned and ran blindly along a high metal catwalk that was elevated about fifteen feet above the floor. The sounds of the machinery now blocked out the sounds of the footfalls, but a quick glance over my shoulder showed me the two cops behind me. Right behind me. Maybe all of twenty feet. I tucked my arms into my sides, pumped my legs harder and put on the best burst of speed I knew how to put on. The ribbed steel treading of the cat walk provided good traction, but how long would it go on for I wondered.

I turned a corner. The cat walk ended, and I found myself in a huge garage. A large Garbage truck sat idling, the driver’s door hanging open. It seemed my only choice. Later I began to doubt that, but at the time it seemed so final, like there really was no other choice, but to jump into the idling truck, slam the door, and get away from those cops. Later it was obvious that it was too pat. A set up.

I hit the step of the cab and launched myself inside of it. My breath was coming in hard, painful gasps. My heart slamming so hard against my ribs that it felt capable of breaking bones… Or itself. A second later I was sitting upright, the stick shift in one hand, racing the gas pedal, punching my foot into the clutch, releasing the emergency brake and then nearly dumping the clutch all at once when one of the cops seemed about to jump onto the cab step. The truck roared, lurched forward and slammed into the closed garage door in front of it.

Glass and wood sprayed the garage. The door didn’t slow the huge truck down at all. I ducked reflexively as the truck lunged through the door and out into the street.

Halfway down the street I had the engine wound out in fourth gear when a couple of things occurred to me. First; I had never driven a stick before. I didn’t know how to do it. I shouldn’t have been able to know about the brake and be able to get moving that fast. Second; were the cops right behind me even now?

As if to answer my question the sounds of sirens came to my ears. Red and blue lights pulsed against the interior of the truck. The rear view mirror reflected them, catching my attention. It was only a second, but that was all it needed to be. I looked up and there was his face. Shocked. Eyes wide. Just a few feet away from me. A red van. Inches now. No time to stop. I heard myself scream as I hit the van broadside in the driver’s door lifting it off the road and into the air. The hood of the garbage truck flew up, smashed the windshield, and then came through it. It all happened in a split second, but in the same instant it seemed to last forever. To go on for a very long time.

I felt the pieces of the hood strike my face. Pain flared bright, hot, all consuming. All just a brief split second and then I was falling. I couldn’t breathe… Absolute dark consumed me…. Falling faster… I hit the mattress hard, a scream tearing from my throat as I did. I screamed a second time before I realized I was in my own bed. Grayish-pink dawn light glowing against the dirty window panes. The hands of the old wind up clock standing at a quarter to seven A.M.

“Oh, Jesus God,” I sobbed once I caught my breath. I curled up into a fetal position. Sickness ripping through my stomach. It was so real… So real.


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